Los Angeles, CA – This week, the U.S Conference of Mayors (USCM) along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti hosted the inaugural Mayors National Youth Summit. Under the leadership of USCM President Bryan Barnett, Mayor of Rochester Hills, (MI), the Summit brought together more than 100 young people and youth activists – ages 16 to 22 – representing more than 20 different states as well as 30 mayors from cities across the country. The event, held in Los Angeles and co-organized by Gresham (OR) Mayor Shane Bemis, was assembled to promote youth engagement in the political process, and it allowed young people and mayors to learn from each other about ways to empower this generation of leaders.
During the summit, the mayors and youth leaders signed a compact on building and supporting youth councils. The document serves as a commitment between mayors and youth to ensure younger voices are a meaningful part of the political dialogue. The compact reads, in part, “The youth of our country today and the young people of the coming generations will face the brunt of the political challenges we fail to address today. Thankfully, the young people across our country are responding to these challenges, showing up ready to lead.”
Following the signing of the compact, USCM President Barnett said, “It is powerful to hear the passion and thoughtfulness of the young people here. Like true leaders, they don’t just accept reality, they are here to change it. The mayors here learned as much as we shared, and this summit is the beginning of a great partnership between mayors and America’s youth. What we have started in Los Angeles will not stop here. We are committed to a historic effort to lift up the young people of this country and help them take greater control of their futures.”
Mayor Bemis, Chair of the USCM Youth Involvement Task Force, added, “Young people are not just our future, they are our today. What America’s mayors want the youth to know is that we stand with them. And that’s because our democracy is stronger when all voices are participating. This is the stuff that matters. These young people want to make this place a better country for everyone, and we are here to help them make that a reality.”
“We are learning so much from an incredible generation of young leaders, whose ideas are driving change and helping to uplift and inform communities across America,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The diversity of background and perspective at this week’s conference reminds us of a powerful truth: when young people have a seat at the table, there is no limit to what they can achieve.”
USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran said, “This historic meeting is more than a meeting; it is bipartisan youth movement that will be carried forward to encourage youth public service. Our next meeting to support the initiatives from this Summit will be carried forward and infused into the national agenda of The United States Conference of Mayors January 2020 Annual Winter Meeting in Washington D.C.”